llluminated by a great assortment of original illustrations, this remarkable book charts the step-by-step evolution of vertebrate blood coagulation. Intended for readers with a background in biological science, it is specifically targeted for those in the field of molecular evolution as well as for researchers in the area of blood clotting. After providing some general background in the areas of blood clotting, protein structure, animal systematics, and simple genomics, the book focusses in on the search for blood clotting genes in the genomes of non-mammalian vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds. The inventory of genes found allows a reconstruction of events culminating in the complex clotting system observed in humans and other mammals.
Also examined are the genomes of protochordates like the sea squirt, leading to conjecture about how blood clotting was first initiated. The orderly way in which gene duplications provided new genes for fine-tuning the system serves as a model for how complex physiological systems in general have evolved. The book ends with suggestions for specific genetic engineering experiments that can be done to illustrate how molecular evolution works. An extensive glossary and guide to the current literature combine to make this book ideal for course use as well as for self study.
"Couldn't put it down! This book is simply wonderful. Although I already knew much of the science, it was explained in a way that helped me to put this work into the context of the larger narrative of molecular evolution."
- Kenneth R Miller, Brown University, USA
"A fully enjoyable discussion of the evolution of blood clotting that can be appreciated by everyone from the seasoned protein chemist to the student wanting to learn the logic behind evolutionary studies. Dr. Doolittle's clear and engaging writing style makes complex concepts easy to follow."
- Naomi Esmon, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, USA
"Timely and engaging! The debate over evolution vs. creationism is always present, and the topic of blood clotting is of great interest."
- Michael Dans, MD, PhD, San Francisco Dermatology, Inc.
"What a lovely little book capturing the life work of one of the leaders in the study of the evolution of proteins. From lamprey to man, Dr. Doolittle writes about the evolution of the blood clotting system with a historical perspective. This was a very enjoyable read.:
- Sandra Degen, University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, USA
Part I: Laying the Groundwork
Chapter 1: Blood Clotting in Humans
Chapter 2: Clotting Inhibitors and Fibrinolysis
Chapter 3: Localizing Clots
Chapter 4: Proteins and Domains
Chapter 5: Fibrinogen and Fibrin
Chapter 6: Animals, Their Proteins and Phylogenetics
Chapter 7: Gene Duplications
Chapter 8: Genomes
Part II: Searching Through Genomes
Chapter 9: Genomes of Fish with Jaws
Chapter 10: Lamprey Clotting Genes
Chapter 11: Contact Factors and Other Embellishments
Chapter 12: Protochordate Genomes
Chapter 13: How the System Began
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Russell Doolittle is an Emeritus Professor at the University of California, San Diego, USA, where he has spent most of his long career. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 1962. His research interests have centred on the structure and evolution of proteins in general and, more particularly, on blood clotting proteins, an interest he developed while a graduate student at Harvard. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.